Hungarian prog masters Kaltenecker-Marko share video for “Space Junk”

Kaltenecker-Marko, the Hungarian duo of Zsolt Kaltenecker & Adam Marko, released their debut album ‘Space Junk’ in April 2022. The album is a unique mixture of prog, modern jazz and other electronic styles which manages to impress and engage the listener at the same time.

Today, the duo are pleased to share the new video for the track “Space Junk ” which you can see now here:

Zsolt Kaltenecker & Adam Marko are among Hungary’s top musicians, and also members of the well-known instrumental band Special Providence who have toured with Haken, Spock’s Beard, and others. The duo invites the listeners to a special musical journey from prog, djent, downtempo to trip-hop and jazzfusion, many electronic styles are recalled live on two instruments, keyboards and drums. The minimal setup is really challenging and also gives air and space for the artists to showcase their abilities as musicians.

Tracklist:

1. Secret Shifter
2. Doubt
3. Higher
4. Space Junk
5. The 7th Wave
6. Unexpected
7. Wormhole
8. Bill Murray
9. Bunuel
10. Lemuria
11. Dharma Bums
12. Glitches
13. The Way 

Get the album here:  https://bfan.link/space-junk

RIVERSIDE – Release new single/video “Self-Aware (Single Edit)” off upcoming album “ID.Entity”; Announce North American Tour

Today, Poland’s pioneering and leading Progressive Rock band RIVERSIDE are pleased to present a second single for their upcoming studio album “ID.Entity”, to be released via InsideOutMusic on January 20th, 2023.

Check out the album’s closing track “Self-Aware” in its ‘Single Edit’ version and with an entertaining video clip directed by Marcin Zawadziński and Mariusz Duda here: 

RIVERSIDE’s Mariusz Duda checked in with the following comment about the new single: 
’Self-Aware’ is a song which summarises the entire album, and talks about how it’s difficult these days to live in a society and ignore all the social changes, how you can’t simply be passive, “shut yourself off”, or “hole up deep in the woods”. We need each other in order to change something in our lives. Not everything can be done single-handedly; “I have to be better than others, I have to be the best” is not a good mantra. We need cooperation to achieve goals. And it’s important that this message comes not from a solo artist, but from a band, whose success lies mostly in cooperation within the band and interaction with their listeners.”

“ID.Entity”, the group’s 8th studio album was recorded and mixed in two studios – The Boogie Town Studio in Otwock with Paweł Marciniak and in Serakos studio in Warsaw with Magda and Robert Srzedniccy -, mastered by Robert Szydło and produced by RIVERSIDE’s Mariusz Duda himself. The “ID.Entity” artwork was created by Polish artist Jarek Kubicki. 

A first single off “ID.Entity” was recently released via the track “I’m Done With You”, which can also be seen here in a video-clip animated and directed by Thomas Hicks / www.thomashicks.co.uk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q6XJfKxKb4

RIVERSIDE also launched a “Riverside Heavy” playlist featuring “I’m Done With You” as well as many other heavier tracks from the band’s comprehensive catalogue, which you can check out here:

 Here is the standard track-listing for the album: 

RIVERSIDE – “ID.Entity” (53:11)

Tracklist:

1. Friend or Foe? (07:29)

2. Landmine Blast (04:50)

3. Big Tech Brother (07:24)

4. Post-Truth (05:37)

5. The Place Where I Belong (13:16)

6. I’m Done With You (05:52)

7. Self-Aware (8:43)

The bonus material appearing on “ID.Entity” includes the instrumental tracks “Age of Anger” (11:56) and “Together Again” (06:29) as well as “Friend or Foe? (Single Edit)” (05:59) and “Self-Aware (Single Edit)” (05:29).

The album will be available in the following formats: 

–        Ltd. Deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook 
(Disc 1: Album, Disc 2: All 4 bonus tracks, Blu-ray: All main 9 album tracks in Dolby Atmos, 5.1 and 24bit HighRes Audio mix versions) 
-> Pictured above!

–        Ltd. 2CD Mediabook (Disc 1: Album, Disc 2: All 4 bonus tracks)
-> Pictured above!

–        CD Jewelcase

–        Deluxe Digital Album (Including all 4 bonus tracks)

–       Digital album

The album’s vinyl version comes as Gatefold 2LP (With the bonus tracks “Age of Anger” and “Together Again” on Side D) in the following variants:
– Black vinyl: All outlets
– Orange vinyl: All outlets

– White vinyl: 500x copies via JPC & Burning Shed
– Yellow vinyl: 500x copies via EMP & Just For Kicks
– Sky Blue vinyl: 600x copies via Laser’s Edge & CM Distro/Webshop Europe

The pre-order for “ID.Entity” in its various formats is available here:
https://riverside.lnk.to/IDEntity

“ID.Entity”, an album that extends and expands RIVERSIDE’s characteristic sound, but all in a revamped and more dynamic formula, follows 2018’s widely acclaimed ‘Wasteland’ album, which entered the charts in Germany at # 13, The Netherlands at # 28, Switzerland at # 23, Austria at # 39, UK at # 83, Finland at # 30, France at # 97, Czech Republic at # 59 and Poland at # 1. 

RIVERSIDE have recently also announced their return to North American stages in February/March 2023 in promotion of “ID.Entity”. Check out the band’s upcoming confirmed live-dates here:

RIVERSIDE – Live 2023:

North American Tour:
17. February 2023 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum

18. February 2023 Orlando, FL – The Abbey

19. February 2023 Atlanta, GA – Hell At The Masquerade

21. February 2023 Dallas, TX – Amplified Live

22. February 2023 Austin, TX – Come And Take It Live

24. February 2023 Mesa, AZ – The Nile Theater

25. February 2023 Pomona, CA – The Glass House

26. February 2023 Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone

28. February 2023 Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw Theatre

1. March 2023 Seattle, WA – Neumos

3. March 2023 Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room

4. March 2023 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre

7. March 2023 St. Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar And Hall

8. March 2023 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge

10. March 2023 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace

11. March 2023 Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre

12. March 2023 Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell

14. March 2023 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall

16. March 2023 New York, NY – Sony Hall

17. March 2023 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

18. March 2023 Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird Music Hall

19. March 2023 Washington, DC – Black Cat

21. March 2023 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
—————————-

15-16. April 2023 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Prognosis Festival
22-23. April 2023 London (UK) – Prognosis Festival 
https://www.prognosis-festival.nl/

More RIVERSIDE live show announcements and further details about “ID.Entity” coming soon…

RIVERSIDE line-up:
Michał Łapaj – keyboards and Hammond Organ
Mariusz Duda – vocal, bass
Piotr Kozieradzki – drums
Maciej Meller – guitar

Review – Downriver Dead men Go – Ruins

Downriver Dead Men Go is a cinematic post-rock band from Leiden, the Netherlands. Their highly anticipated third album ‘Ruins’ has just been released. DDMG previously released two critically acclaimed albums: ‘Tides’ in 2015 and ‘Departures’ in 2018, gathering a loyal and ever-growing fan base. Both albums feature a mesmerizing, atmospheric, melancholic sound, ranging from post-rock to touches of prog and dark wave.

I’ve been a long time fan of the band from my association with FREIA Music through my work with Bad Elephant Music and every DDMG album is a dense, imposing and highly melodic musical experience.‘Ruins’ takes that base and ramps up the tension to 11, a dark, brooding and utterly magnificent musical encounter that will linger long in the memory.

The guitars have that monolithic feel, as heavy and hard as age old granite yet hauntingly melodic at the same time. The music has a timeless grace to it, a melancholic leviathan that has a different concept of time or space than we do and has just awoken from an ageless slumber. There’s a wistful, desolate beauty to the songs starting with the timeless elegance of title track Ruins and the sparse grandeur of Secret. The sorrowful and plaintive pain evident in Helpless and Line in the Sand gives the tracks a thoughtful and mournful stateliness and the widescreen, cinematic magnificence of longest track Cruel World is a heart-wrenching joy to behold. The album closes with the short hypnotic apprehension of The Lie and you left feeling almost bereft.

‘Ruins’ is an album of varying emotions, stark highs and solemn lows, it’s a reflective and meditative work of art that is the ultimate soundtrack to a cold and rainy day spent in front of a roaring fire and, in my opinion, is simply superb!

Released 24th November, 2022.

Order from bandcamp here:

Ruins | Downriver Dead Men Go (bandcamp.com)

The Tangent announce ‘Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ for January 2023 release

The Tangent are pleased to present ‘Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ for release on the 27th January 2023 via InsideOutMusic. Collecting together tracks from 3 line-ups of The Tangent, this 2CD & 3LP album collects together show recordings from 2004, 2011 & 2017. Band leader Andy Tillison comments: “A Triple Live LP is the stuff of Bucket Lists, dreamed of doing one of these since I was a kid”.

The album will be available as a 2CD Digipak, a Gatefold 3LP+2CD & LP-booklet, as well as digitally worldwide. Listen to the track ‘A Spark In The Aether’ recorded by the bands current line-up, and pre-order now here: https://TheTangent.lnk.to/PyramidsStarsOtherStories_TheTangentLiveRecordings2004-2017

Included in its entirety is the 2004 ‘Pyramids And Stars’ concert in Germany featuring the “Roine Stolt” lineup of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut ‘Music That Died Alone’ album along with (then) new material from their second album ‘The World That We Drive Through’.

Added to that, there are tracks from the COMM era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK – plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band’s current line-up. These originally appeared on the ‘Southend On Sea’ and ‘Hotel Cantaffordit’ fan releases respectively. 

All is presented inside a re-imagined Ed Unitsky sleeve, to create a package that fans are sure to love. 

“This is a real, proper, live album” says Tillison. “It’s candid, it’s spontaneous, it has mistakes and things that are a bit too loud and things that are a bit too quiet. It’s what happened on stage at three gigs at which “making a live album” never crossed our minds.”  

The full tracklisting is below:

Side One

1. The World We Drive Though

Side Two

3. The Canterbury Sequence

4. The Winning Game

Side Three

5. In Darkest Dreams

Side Four

6. The Music That Died Alone

7. Lucky Man

Side Five

8. A Spark In The Aether

9. A Sale Of Two Souls

10. Perdu Dans Paris

Side Six

11. A Crisis In Mid Life

12. Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)

The CD’s (included with the vinyl edition) also include all of the above with the addition of:

13. Titanic Calls Carpathia

14. Two Rope Swings

Andy Tillison – Keyboards & Vocals (all tracks)

Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar (all tracks except 9,10,11,13)

Luke Machin – Guitars & Vox (Tracks 8-14)

Steve Roberts – Drums (Tracks 8, 12, 14)

Roine Stolt – Guitars & Vocals (Tracks 1 – 7)

Zoltán Csörsz – Drums (Tracks 1 – 7)

Sam Baine – Keyboards (Tracks 1 – 7)

Tony ‘Funkytoe’ Latham – Drums (Tracks 10,11,13)

Dan Mash – Bass (Tracks 10,11,13) 

The Tangent online:
www.thetangent.org

https://www.facebook.com/groups/alltangentmembers/

Review Phi Yaan-Zek – Interdimensional Garden Party – by John Wenlock-Smith

I first came across Phi Yaan-Zek as many others may have, through the pages and tracks on Prog Magazine, although at that time it didn’t really grab me. I was probably on a different musical phase ,as is often the way with me. However, I recently read a review of his latest album from a writer for The Progressive Aspect whose eloquent words piqued my interest, hence this review.

In all the years of my life I have never really been a big fan of Frank Zappa, although I can clearly see his influence in this music. I certainly like it here, for sure, and definitely in the humour contained within these tracks. Phi is certainly a very fine musician and can play a very mean guitar line when required. He also enlists an extraordinary cast of collaborators, like Andy Edwards and John Jowitt of Frost* and he also has a couple of Aristocrats in tow to give this music much flair and finesse.

It has strong touches of psychedelia along with certain hippyish elements, but these are woven into the overall sound of the album. I am certainly highly impressed by all of this excellent and exciting music, it is all wonderfully produced with excellent guitar skills on display. The music also has jazz elements at times, giving the sound a definite jazz/fusion blend.

An outstanding track is track Wickety Wickety, which is a cross between a rumbling song, something like Nelly The Elephant but with brass embellishments. It is rather a fun piece but utterly engrossing and captivating. This whole album is different, it is definitely a positive sounding album and will imbue feelings of well being and contentment. Above all, this music is good fun and we should all be glad of that, especially at this time. Also notable is Anomaly Temporal with an almost reggae swing and spoken vocal from , this also has a touch of Star Trek to it and rounds out with an excellent instrumental finale.

I really enjoy the instrumental flourishes that abound throughout this very imaginative album, it really is a fascinating and captivating listen. Phi is a very fluid guitarist, think of folks like Steve Vai and you won’t be far off the mark, but he is also very melodic in tone and, whilst he can shred with the best, he works for the track, not just to stun.

This is clearly shown on My Favourite UFO which combines his fine guitar virtuosity with a strong tune to fine effect. This track has a dreamy type of sound and reminds me of 10CC in parts, it also has great bass from Bryan Beller of The Aristocrats. The song speeds up towards its conclusion and this proves very effective, as is the vocal from Ellie Williams. The next track Floating gives room for some free reign musical improvisation which is taken by Phi with Mike Keneally in tow, along with the fabulous and dynamic Aristocrats rhythm team of Beller and Marco Minneman. With Phi’s guitar floating over the top most efficiently and effectively, it really is a sublime piece of intent delivered really well.

Final track The Puffball That Ate My Village is another monster track with a similar pace to Wickety Wickety but with fiery guitar interjections and interplay between Phi and Chanan Hanspal, who play off against each other in a six string orgy of soloing. It’s all highly effective, especially with Andy Edwards‘ drums and Steve Lawson’s majestic bass playing that anchor it all together seamlessly. The song also features lots of guests adding chant type vocals, which really sounds good. When this track end there is a brief pause of about 2 minutes before A reprise of opener The Interdimensional Garden Party plays, this is a fitting close to an exceptional album but wait, there’s more as there is a brief untitled track that is basically the words spoken backwards deliberately.

This is a truly entertaining album with fabulous music and performances throughout. Definitely one of my album of the year contenders, outstanding. In a year that has seen so many really good albums, this one can truly stand tall and proud and I recommend it without hesitation, especially for its weirdness and sense of fun.

Released 7th October, 2022.

Order from bandcamp here:

Interdimensional Garden Party | Phi Yaan-Zek (pyzmusic.com)

VLMV – For Empire – Live At Tortington Church

Picture by Paris Grace

On one cold, wet and windy afternoon in early November VLMV, aka Pete Lambrou, brought VLMV’s live set up to a Twelfth Century Church on England’s South Coast.

The resulting video is a beautiful one-take-completely-live recording of usual set opener ‘For Empire’, taken from the latest album Sing With Abandon. For Empire’s title and general demeanour evoke an apprehensive anti nostalgia for the old world, and the lyrics are plainly critical, but throughout weaves a feeling of yearning: ‘I was hoping someone could turn this boat around’.

Pete Lambrou on the setting:

“This had to be recorded and filmed in an old Church; being one of the absolute pillars of old empire. The older the better. Not all the songs from the album were written in the midst of lockdown. A couple were performed live on the last tour before the pandemic hit, including For Empire. But their roots are in the aftermath of Brexit, and this feeling of abandonment I’d felt throughout, and then the realisation that your neighbours aren’t who you thought they were.”

The Churches Conservation Trust:

“Tortington, the homestead of Torhta’s people, is recorded in Domesday Book (1086). The entrance to this twelfth-century flint church looks like something out of a mediaeval fantasy – three rows of Norman carvings arch over a thick wooden door set with ornamental hinge straps. Inside, creatures unlike anything found in nature peer down from the chancel arch. They are called ‘beakheads’ – boggle-eyed monsters with beaks, tongues and squid-like  tentacles that frown and glare at visitors below. Once they would have been painted in bright colours to entertain – or terrify – worshippers.”

VLMV (pronounced and formerly known as ALMA) is a self-proclaimed ambient-ish post-something singer-songwriter / producer from London. Part of the illustrious Erased Tapes family, VLMV have released 2 albums on Fierce Panda Records, alongside 2022’s Sing With Abandon out on Pete’s own label, Nice Weather for Airstrikes. Live, VLMV deploy loop stations, multiple delay pedals, piano and strings to create a slow-moving, high-flying soundscape of luscious gravitas.

“Building atmospheric and quietly epic soundscapes that creep up on you unannounced….like a beam of light through a dark, cold night.” – Lauren Laverne BBC6 Music

“As worthy of your love and admiration as anything Sigur Rós or Explosions In The Sky have released” Team Rock

Featured image by Jess Robinson

Jethro Tull finish work on their 23rd studio album, due for release in Spring 2023

Photo by Assunta Opahle

Jethro Tull have completed work on the recording of their 23rd studio album, following swift on the heels of their critically-acclaimed return earlier this year with ‘The Zealot Gene’, their first album in two decades.

Ian Anderson checks in with the below:

“We have been putting the finishing touches to the artwork for the album cover and wrapped up the recording and mixing a few weeks ago. Due to the usual long wait for vinyl pressing and manufacturing, we are scheduled for an Spring 2023 release but, during the weeks and months to come, you will be hearing more about the record and the various formats which will be available. 

It’s a little too early just yet to tease you with titles, tracklists and content, but rest assured that it is all done and dusted as to mastering and the main elements of art and packaging. I hope you will like the concept and themes when I am ready to tell you more. It has been a long and tricky job to get the material recorded during a hectic schedule of touring in these last months. A day here, a day there and the odd burst of a few days together at some points along the way. 

I wrote the main themes and lyrics back in January of this year and sent the first demos to the band in February and March, much as I did with The Zealot Gene, back in 2017. Most of the recording took place in June and August with the stereo mixing done in September. My new pal Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief undertook to create the surround sound mixes and an alternative stereo mix too.”

Jethro Tull continue live dates this year, with shows in mainland Europe before returning to the UK for their annual Christmas shows, and then further dates in 2023. 

‘The Zealot Gene’, released in January 2022, was Jethro Tull’s 22nd studio album and it garnered critical acclaim across the board. Reaching #9 in the UK album charts, a feat the band hadn’t reached since 1972, it also debuted at #4 in Germany, #3 in Switzerland, #5 in Austria, #8 in Finland, as well as top 10 in the US Album Charts, Current Album Charts and Rock Album Charts.

With more than 30 albums to their credit and sales totaling more than 50 million, Jethro Tull are one of the most successful rock bands of all-time with a catalog that contains classics that still resonate today. Led by Ian Anderson, Tull still continue to tour throughout the world, entertaining audiences of all ages. 

The band consists of:

Ian Anderson – Flute, acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals

David Goodier – Bass guitar

John O’Hara – Piano, keyboards and accordion

Scott Hammond – Drums.

Joe Parrish-James – Guitar

JETHRO TULL ONLINE:

http://jethrotull.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialjethrotull/

https://www.youtube.com/user/tullmanagement

https://www.instagram.com/jethrotull_/

Review – Gandalf’s Fist – Widdershins

English speakers today are most likely to encounter widdershins as a synonym of counterclockwise. But in earliest known uses, found in texts from the early 1500s, widdershins was used more broadly in the sense of “in the wrong way or opposite direction.” To say that one’s hair “stood widdershins” was, in essence, to say that one was having a bad hair day. By the mid-1500s, English speakers had adopted widdershins to specifically describe movement opposite to the apparent clockwise direction (as seen from the northern hemisphere) of the sun traveling across the sky, which, at the time, could be considered evil or unlucky. The word originates from the Old High German widar, meaning “back” or “against,” and sinnen, meaning “to travel.”

So that’s covered the origin of the album’s title but how does it relate to this, Gandalf’s Fist’s eighth full length release, their first new album of original material since the 5-Disc-Epic ‘Clockwork Saga’?

“Originally formed in 2005 by Multi-Instrumentalist Dean Marsh and lyricist Luke Severn, the band are now hitting their creative peak in their current 6-piece incarnation. Gandalf’s Fist draw on their mutual love for the ‘Golden Era’ of Progressive Rock, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and even Renaissance Folk to create unique concept albums, with their latest, ‘Widdershins’, offering up 8 individual songs exploring the nature of superstition.

Superstition and the human experience have gone hand-in-hand for thousands of years. In this respect, ‘Widdershinsis not just an album of the times, but an album of all times. In this digital age with, literally millions of voices whispering from our devices, what we hold to be true, and how the truths of others shape our daily lives could not be more salient. This theme of the album is bolstered by some of Gandalf’s Fist’s own truths: Some of the greatest riffs they’ve ever recorded, rollicking folk sections, soaring orchestral passages and the longest song they’ve ever written.”

So, there you have it, from the band’s own press release, a new album that has certainly whetted my appetite…

I’ve been a long time fan of Gandalf’s Fist, their unique brand of ‘Medieval Space-Rock’ just seemed to resonate with me and I still think ‘Clockwork Saga’ is one of the most ambitious, overblown and bloody brilliant ideas that any band have ever come up with. There’s a huge boat load of drama, spectacle and theatre in their music and ‘Widdershins’ is no exception. Keri Farish’s amazing vocals could grace the stage of any musical theatre and give real passion and emotion to every note and Dean Marsh’s thunderous riffing gives a monumental feel to the music. To my ears. on this album, Ben Bell and his stellar keyboard skills really come to the fore and add another layer of class and sophistication to band’s intense and vibrant music. Intricate melodies are woven into immense, epoch spanning, sagas and the Fist really know how to deliver a powerful refrain and when subtlety is the better option.

This is a well crafted collection of songs and, while there are no duff tracks, there are some real highlights too. Title track Widdershins is the first of two epic tracks and is a cleverly woven musical story that ebbs and flows delightfully from the elegant piano led opening to the vibrant close, there’s even a hint of a Bond theme in there (about two and half minutes in it goes all Live And Let Die, honest!). Dreamcatcher is all dramatic and sombre to start with before opening into a wonderful symphonic metal yarn and Wisp is an utterly compelling, rollicking, piece of folk that will have you jigging the night away.

Man of Signs is an enigmatic song from incredibly gifted and creative musicians. Subdued and mysterious at first, the vocals have an almost wistful and ethereal note to them, like a will-o’-the-wisp dancing on your synapses. The magic continues as a dancing acoustic guitar heralds some fantastic interplay between Dean’s guitar and Ben’s brilliant, ever-so-70’s, keyboards. Holding everything together, as he does on the rest of the album, is drummer extraordinaire Stefan Hepe, a rather excellent piece of music. Gandalf’s Fist may just have reached their musical zenith with the brilliant Cave, a proper epic of a track coming in at just under twenty minutes and one that fascinates with its scintillating musical narrative. Keri’s striking vocal performance is just the start as the thunderous riffs, dynamic drums and coruscating keyboards stride across the landscape in a dominant fashion. This a potent nod to the ‘Golden Era’ of progressive rock with complex time signatures and elaborate instrumental sections and it’s just scintillating. Pompous and overblown maybe but that’s what the best progressive rock was always about and the Fist do it with plenty of style and not a little aplomb!

The ‘Clockwork Saga’ will always be seen as a monumental piece of work but, as a stand-alone release, ‘Widdershins’ sees Gandalf’s Fist at their absolute vibrant and dynamic best, every musician giving 100% and, while I’ve always been a fan of this very distinctive band, this new release sees them hitting an entirely new level.

Released 21st November , 2022.

Order direct from the band here:

Gandalf’s Fist – Widdershins (gandalfsfist.com)

Arc of Triumph shine light on billionaire greed with new release: ‘The New Adventures of the Superhumans’

Leeds duo Arc of Triumph release their double a-side single this week, The New Adventures of the Superhumans/In My Arms, the first material from the band since their 2021 album Rampjaar.

Picking up the thread laid by their previous two albums, Arc of Triumph’s political leanings are more evident than ever in The New Adventures of the Superhumans. It gives a scathing commentary on society’s inequalities.

The song warns of a dystopian future where the rich are still untouched by the damage to our planet caused almost exclusively by them:

“The final age is looming / so save the superhumans / they haven’t flown this far to lose.”

Although imagining a distant future, the song’s themes are applicable today. Simon Elvin said:

“Inequality is greater than ever. People can’t afford to eat. And the planet is in mortal danger. Yet, billionaires continue to hoard wealth hand over fist. Piling misery and suffering on the vast majority.”

Rory Holl said:

“Sometimes it feels as though there’s nothing you can do. We wanted to document our feelings on the current situation. If it did make anyone think differently, then that would be amazing. But I think most people have made their minds up already.”

Musical influences for Arc of Triumph (made up of Simon Elvin and Rory Holl) are wide-ranging from 70s prog of Yes! and Genesis to 80s electro pop, with a nod towards latter-day Radiohead.

And the “electronic textures and moody synth sounds” described by James R Turner in his review of their second album, Rampjaar, last year are certainly back in this new release.

The song is heavily driven by 80s synth and organ sounds, with hypnotic, delayed guitar lines and glitchy drum machines, giving way to jarring drum rhythms and falsetto vocals.

After a brief hiatus following the release of Rampjaar, the pair were back in the studio in the spring to start work on new material. The double a-side marks the first release for their third album due for release next year. So, watch this space!

In a review of Rampjaar in The London Economic in 2021, Jack Peat described the album as harnessing a “superb technical ability to deliver a futuristic prog-rock album befitting of its time”.

And Superhumans is certainly befitting of its time too. The video imagines the Earth as a dead planet with the only survivors being the privileged few who are able to preserve themselves from the destruction they have caused.

We see the likes of Boris Johnson, Putin, Trump, members of the royal family, Jeff Bezos, Roman Abramovic and Jacob Rees-Mogg escaping the dying Earth. They rocket off in cryotubes to a new planet while the rest of us perish. A metaphor for their financial ability to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The final chorus imagines how history will judge these people:

“In cryogenic futures / they’ll raise the superhumans / and make them pay for what they’ve done.”

Watch the video to see their fate:

Listen here:

Simon said:

“As well as the emergency of climate change, the way the rich can shield themselves from the problems they cause is reminiscent of the current cost-of-living crisis. We have nurses using foodbanks. We have schools with lower budgets next year than they did in 2015.”

Rory added:

“People are struggling more than ever just to exist. But it doesn’t affect the rich and privileged so it’s hard for them to care. We don’t think people who have grown up in luxury and who have never had to worry about money should be running the country.”

Review – Avandra – Prodigal

Progressive-metal stars AVANDRA return with their new album, ‘Prodigal‘. With a passion for non-standard time signatures, electronics and technical elements, the band have produced a concept album that explores the meaning of ‘home’ and the freedom to attain your own destiny. ‘Prodigal’ follows the protagonist through a difficult journey of loss and betrayal; from joining the military only to discover they were responsible for the bombing and destruction of his home, to returning and rebuilding.

A towering behemoth of thunderous guitars, violent drumming and monolithic bass playing all backed by the wonderful and melodic soaring vocals, ‘Prodigal’ is quite a powerful statement. An elegant journey into the intensity that progressive-metal can create, highlights abound throughout this impressive collection. There’s the clever, restrained feel in opener Codename: Pharoah that continues with the excellent The Downpour with its every so memorable and haunting chorus. Occasional harsh vocals along with soaring cleans produce a dynamic contrast that really lingers in the memory throughout the album. The rueful, sombre and wistful notes of New Beginnings and the dignified piano and atmospheric synths of In Träumen showcase a softer, more reflective side to the band which is highlighted fully with the exceptional Facing an Armoured Dreadnaught. In Memoriam is just a fast paced destroyer of polished progressive metal and the superbly chaotic and dissonant Dissembling the Artifice will literally blow your mind with its fevered intensity. All of this energy and dynamism comes to a frenetic close with Daybreak, a dramatic conclusion to the events that have gone before.

AVANDRA have created a thrilling and compelling take on the progressive-metal genre and one that is delivered with not a little expertise and finesse. ‘Prodigal’ is one of those intricate and influential albums that takes some understanding at first but when you peel back the final layer of this epic behemoth, it is a wonder to behold.

Released 18th November, 2022.

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